At a glance.
- Comment on the export and abuse of intercept tools.
- Up in the air: policy in space and cyberspace.
Comment on the export and abuse of intercept tools.
Israel Hayom sees political and economic motives behind recent criticism of Jerusalem and NSO Group, since France’s Nexa Technologies, Germany’s FinFisher, Switzerland’s Polus Tech, Spain’s Mollitiam Industries, and “many” other companies around the world market comparable tools. Former Israeli Defense Ministry leader Isaac Ben-Israel says the censure “has nothing to do with human rights, and everything to do with business,” and that other countries “can stop with their sanctimony.”
At present a field frontrunner with eight-hundred-fifty employees, NSO Group lives in an industry born of encrypted apps, catalyzed by Snowden’s revelations, and dependent on the vulnerability market. Excluded from the bulk of Patriot Act intelligence sharing, Israel was forced to stand on its own feet, and now ranks among the world’s leading cyber powers.
Companies like NSO group distance themselves from ethical dilemmas, Hayom says, by handing off responsibility first to Jerusalem’s Defense Exports Control Agency, which vets all contracts, and then to end clients, who promise to use the products for aboveboard aims. Countries of China and North Korea’s ilk are off limits, while arrangements with “grey” regimes come in for individual scrutiny. These decisions are complicated by financial and strategic interests: states like Saudi Arabia, for example, sometimes offer twentyfold the remuneration, and Jerusalem has additional reasons to support enemies’ enemies. (Haaretz details the “warming relations” between Israel and Morocco, marked by a new cyber compact and increased info-sharing.)
NSO supporters worry that any industry crackdown will drive cyber talent and companies to countries with worse oversight, advantage less scrupulous regimes, and damage Israeli defenses. A senior Defense official indicated that “changes” are “likely,” however.
Up in the air: policy in space and cyberspace.
The Conversation explores open questions at the intersection of space and cyberspace policy, like when international laws apply, how national security can be assured, what sovereignty means, and where it comes into play. Both space and outer space are “dual use” domains with relevance to critical infrastructure and defense strategies. Both are arenas of potential conflict, competition, and collaboration, among nations with vastly different capabilities, characterized by swiftly evolving potentialities that have outstripped security agreements and solutions.